A decision has been made between Te Whatu Ora, the University of Otago and Te Pūkenga that the Interprofessional Learning Centre will not go ahead at this time.

The ILC was initially meant to be in the new Dunedin health precinct along with the New Dunedin Hospital. Health and tertiary education leaders in the Otago region have agreed to move the focus away from a specific building for interprofessional learning and will work together to grow the interdisciplinary training of the region’s healthcare professionals of the future.

The ILC project had increased in cost and scope from a very early estimate of $50m in 2020 to more than $130m based on current projections.

“Due to the escalating costs, our organisations have had to consider the feasibility of a new, separate building to house training,” said Fepulea'i Margie Apa, Chief Executive, Te Whatu Ora.

Peter Winder, Chief Executive of Te Pūkenga, saidTe Pūkenga remains committed to interprofessional learning. We know the value of it. Te Pūkenga recognises that interprofessional learning outside the ‘classroom’ or on-campus settings is a crucial component in the educational journey of those involved in health-related programmes. This is already a key component of our health ākonga.

Mr Winder agreed that, in the current climate, all partners need to focus funding on building the education of the workforce rather than an actual facility as originally proposed.

Margie Apa said, “I want to reassure the community that this decision will not impact or compromise the training for students and our staff.  Our trainee doctors, nurses and other health practitioners will still continue to have the advantage of clinical placements on-site at the New Dunedin Hospital.

“Te Whatu Ora will continue to explore how we can partner and collaborate with the education providers to advance the teaching and learning opportunities in Dunedin and across the motu, especially around interprofessional education,” said Margie Apa.

The University of Otago’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson said the University is a leader in interprofessional health education and is disappointed the ILC cannot go ahead at this time.

“Although we cannot progress the ILC currently, we remain committed to interprofessional education and will continue to provide opportunities for students in our health-related programmes to undertake interprofessional training in communities throughout the motu,” Professor Nicholson said.

“I would like to acknowledge the work and planning that has gone into this project to date and we will continue to investigate ways in which we can build on this work.

“Long term the University’s ambition for the future training of health professionals in Dunedin still includes an interprofessional learning facility,” said Professor Nicholson.

Mr Winder said, “We are committed to finding a different solution that delivers the benefits of interprofessional learning but is affordable.”

Te Whatu Ora, the University of Otago and Te Pūkenga remain committed to interdisciplinary learning as a pillar of future health training programmes and will continue to work together to improve health education.

Work will continue between the three parties to develop interprofessional education as part of the workforce strategy, including the potential to reactivate an ILC proposal at a future point in time.


Editors notes:

  • Seventeen million dollars that was ring-fenced to support the ILC remains in the New Dunedin Hospital budget.

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Julia Goode
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National (secondment) | Waitaha Canterbury | Te Tai o Poutini West Coast
Ph: +64 21 223 2141 | Email: julia.goode@cdhb.health.nz